Chris Hemsworth: Appetite for Creation

Making his debut as the arrogant god Thor in Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 film, we saw Chris Hemsworth‘s Nordic superhero embark on an incredible journey of transformation, mostly under the skillful guidance of Taika Waititi who helmed both Thor: Ragnarok [2017] and today’s new episode, Thor: Love and Thunder.

Once an arrogant and impulsive prince banished from Asgard by his father Odin, Thor would experience enormous growth and loss, haunted by the belief that anyone he loved would meet certain death.

In Avengers: Endgame, he is clearly experiencing an existential crisis, having suffered a series of brutal beatings. He lost his family and friends, his home of Asgard, Mjolnir, and his battle with Thanos – not to mention his godlike physique.

But after Iron Man’s snap restored the universe to End of GameThor loses his will to rule, bestowing his throne of New Asgard on Tessa Thompson’s new Valkyrie King.

Hitchhiking with the Guardians of the Galaxy, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

But when a new enemy emerges in the form of Christian Bale’s Gorr, determined to wipe out all gods, Thor must uncover the mystery of the Butcher God’s revenge and stop him.

Filmed during the pandemic at Fox Studios in Sydney, Hemsworth, 38, was happy to stay close to his wife Elsa Pataky and their three children during the uncertain times.

How Thor in love and thunder differ from the last time we saw it in Avengers: Endgame?

In End of Game, we saw a rather confused and lost version of Thor. He’s definitely better at the end of the movie than he was at the start, but he still doesn’t really know who he is or his place in the universe, and he decides he needs to search and to take time for him.

We see Thor having a lot of fun with the Guardians of the Galaxy although he’s not sure if the feeling is mutual?

Yeah. Thor leaves with the Guardians and – much to their embarrassment and irritation – plants himself firmly in the center of their group and tries to dictate how things should go.

Russell Crowe is hilarious as Zeus. What did you think?

I never expected to see the day when Russell would appear on screen with hints of “Gladiator” imagery, but with a wink, utterly self-deprecating one. He didn’t hold back. I’m such a fan. I have been since I started playing. There is such weight and seriousness in his performance and for him, as an individual, by far. But upon meeting him, he has a great sense of humor and did everything Taika asked on set, which was mind-blowing.

“Rusty – cracks us up every time”

What does a day on set with Taika as a director look like? Explain that to us?

Different. Chaotic, beautiful, crazy chaos. It’s a journey of self-discovery and exploration, of fun and madness. There’s music playing and he stands behind the camera, laughing a little and spoiling most of the takes. It’s the best. It is a free form; a lot of improvisation, but just an unequaled passion. There was an infectious enthusiasm in everyone. And he loves it. He loves these stories. He loves these characters. He sits there like a fan would, telling you what he wants to see, what a fan wants to see – ‘Try this or try this!’, no matter how ridiculous it is. And everyone agrees. And that’s why you get this spontaneity and this unpredictable nature in all of Taika’s films.

More oil please

At the beginning of the film, we see Thor in search of inner peace. How do you find your own inner peace?

Different places at different times, you know? I find the solitude and tranquility and inner peace that comes from being home with my family, and the calmness of that environment. Occasionally I find it on set between the action and the cut when the creativity is abundant and you are immersed in that process and the adventure and transport to another world that you are undertaking at that time ; that’s why I started acting, the fantasy of it all. But mostly I would say it’s home with my kids on the beach, toys, motorbikes. No matter. The simple stuff.

How do you think Christian Bale’s Gorr compares to Thor?

There is so much drama and madness surrounding Gorr, but Christian Bale managed to draw attention to every moment. You can’t take your eyes off it. The character is fascinating because, like all good villains, Gorr is right. He may not be doing it the right way, but there’s empathy in the script, and Christian brought so many more layers and so much more depth to Gorr.

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Do you have a favorite villain in the MCU?

Gorr is my favorite villain. I love everyone I’ve worked with, but this one was especially special. There is an empathetic quality there; there is a vulnerability. You kind of find yourself leaving. “What he is doing is wrong, but I have the motivation.” And every time you work with someone, different characters that bring out different things about you, and that was the case here, and he did an amazing job.

“You call that a hammer?

We know Thor is keen on finding Mjolnir, so what did you enjoy most about exploring the Thunder God’s complicated relationship with his two hammers?

It was one of the funniest things we could do in the movie. Yeah, look, it’s hard to see the ex-girlfriend coming in, dressed like him; it’s a shock. And all of a sudden, the weapon that was dear to him for so many years now belongs to someone else. And then he has Storm Breaker starting to feel… and there’s a bit of jealousy in there. This kind of evolution through the film. I don’t think it was in the original script, but it was fun.

Are you talking about the jealousy between Storm Breaker and Hammer?

We play with a little more pleasure in this conversation between the objects of my desires (axe and hammer). Taika has an incredible eye for this stuff; things that are related to an audience but also obscure and very different, and having some sort of relationship jealousy between your ex-gun and your current new gun is fun to have. It’s very connected because no matter what happens, that’s what humans do, they are connected to each other.

Is it still the same feeling of playing Thor as when you started?

There’s obviously a familiarity, but he’s changed so much over the years that me and that’s what’s been fun that as the character has evolved and I’ve had different opinions, I somehow merged and crossed etc. The origin story is I think not the easiest but the most obvious and there’s kind of a set of rules and guidelines that I think you have to stick to and it works and it is familiar and accessible to people. The challenge is how to recreate the character? What can you do differently each time? And the luxury of working with different directors and different actors is that they all bring out something very different in you. Like Taika says, I feel like the character has probably become more me over the years, hopefully in a fun way.

you fired love and thunder in The Tome. You liked the new techniques?

It was cool. Yes, you interact with the environment. A lot of what we did in those movies was green screen, blue screen. You don’t even know what the monster looks like or whatever you’re watching until you see the movie. But also, what I thought was cool is that the skin color and tones change due to the sunset you’re looking at or whatever, in that environment. It’s much more immersive.

Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters July 6, 2022

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